Monday, February 27, 2006

Lift "state of emergency," Madame President, before its too late

President Arroyo's picture (Time Asia.com/Reuters) as she appeared on television declaring a state of emergency last Friday, February 24, 2006. Time Asia had good story on how the supposed coup was planned.

Recall Proclamation 1017, Madame President. It’s not doing the country any good. The longer it stays hanging like a Sword of Damocles on every citizen’ head, the more it will do damage to the country. Recall it now, if only to remove the sense of uncertainty that everyone feels these days.

You and your advisers probably think Proclamation 1017 has done your presidency any good. You may have thought that the “Marcosian” measure gave you an aura of firmness and resolve. The effect was the opposite. When you appeared on TV on Friday to tell us there was “clear and present danger” to the Republic, you appeared scared and confused, projecting an image of a beleaguered presidency prone to knee-jerk reactions, a lost caravan of weary travelers circling the wagons.

Maybe those threats from the Left, Right, and “military adventurers” were real. Who knows? But that’s your judgment call, and your lawyers and defenders will have to account for that at the Supreme Court. But those “coup plotters” are now running scared themselves. Some of them like party-list representative Crispin Beltran are now in jail. It is clear most of the perpetrators could no longer do mischief to your Administration. By the time this paper hits the streets early tomorrow, most of those Leftist legislators who were a pain in your neck may have started to write poetry as they ponder upon their destinies inside some of the country’s humid prison cells.

What are you really scared about, Ms President? Media? You better not, because media will always do its job. Do you and your advisers really think media will tow the line simply because you have 1017?

Besides, the cops, or even the bureaucrats from the National Telecommunications Commission, wouldn’t actually know how to run newspapers and television channels once you decide to seize them for “national security” reasons. Well, some newspapers actually wish General Lomibao takes over so that he would require each one of the 120,00-strong police force to buy a copy every morning, thus boosting subscription and revenue. But that’s a joke and we feel it’s not funny.

Lift Proclamation 1017, Madame President, before you totally ruin the economy. Imports of capital goods rose almost 24 percent in December while purchases of raw materials and intermediate goods grew 17 percent. That means that the country’s businesses are gearing to produce more goods and services this year to push the country’s economy forward. The country’s value of production index continues to grow at double digit rates while the manufacturing sector’s average capacity utilization has remained at a high of 84.4 percent. These factors must be among the reasons, Madame President, why a few weeks ago, a survey released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said the country’s business community is “optimistic” about the prospects of the country’s economy.

Business people are doing their part creating jobs for the people, Madame President and yet you are about to ruin their contributions to the economy. This is bad, because you are going to destroy our jobs as well as our dreams. Since the last five years, the Philippines has not attracted significant foreign direct investments, save for the call centers and other business process outsourcing. With uncertainties created by Proclamation 1017, you are going to shatter what is left of our image abroad as an investment destination.

Proclamation 1017, Madame President, is a losing proposition. Lawyers after lawyers in the country are saying you are going to lose once the Supreme Court hears all those petitions questioning the legality of your actions.

Just today, the faculty of the University of the Philippines Law Center issued a statement saying “…nothing in the Constitution can authorize the suspension of the Bill of Rights. Even under a declared state of martial law, which the Arroyo administration repeatedly insists this is not, the Bill of Rights remains fully operative. Thus, the suppression of free speech, the muzzling of the free press, and the prohibition on public assembly sanctioned by the two issuances cannot be construed as anything other than clearly and unequivocally unconstitutional.”

There you go, Madame President. Lift it before you get more embarrassments.

2 comments:

cryxycryx said...

hmmm...anti-gloria? hehehe!

Without Borders said...

no, pro-freedom. pro-democracy.